Originally Posted by HerbAndSkills
I am trying to do an 11.1 setup, but I am using an old Denon 5.1 receiver to power the surround back speakers. Does anyone have an idea if I should run the rca’s to a normal input(cd) or into the ext-in plugs? I’ve tried both but no luck. What am I missing? Thanks
I am doing the same thing with my gear, and it seems to work really well using the Marantz for 9 channels, and my old Denon receiver to power the remaining 2 channels. Here is what I did to make mine work - I assume your steps would be roughly the same:
1. Use RCA cables to connect the Marantz pre-amp outputs for the channels you want externally amplified (Surround Back, you said) to the Front left/right External inputs on your Denon receiver
2. Connect your Surround Back speakers to the Front channel speaker terminals on your Denon
3. Optionally configure the speaker settings in your Denon to only use the Front left/right channels (i.e. turn off all other amp channels in the Speaker settings menu) and confirm that the channel levels for your Front channels is set to 0.0 (in the Channel Level menu) - this will allow the Marantz to control the trim level for these channels (step 7 below)
4. Choose an input that you want to use on the Denon - it could be anything, but I used the CD input. Optionally you can rename the input to something else if your Denon supports that feature - I called mine "Ext Amp" just to avoid confusion about what that input is doing
5. Configure the input on the Denon to use the External In connections (you may have to toggle the settings for the input between Digital, Analog, and Ext In until you reach the Ext In setting). This tells the Denon to use the signals from the External In cables for this input
6. Set the volume on the Denon to either 80 or 0.0, depending on how you have your volume scale configured (mine is set to 0.0). Optionally configure your Denon to set the main zone volume to 0.0 when you turn on the receiver, if your Denon supports that feature (this makes sure that the volume is set correctly every time you turn on the Denon). You don't ever want to mess with the volume on the Denon after this - you'll do all volume adjustments through the Marantz
6. Change the speaker setting on the Marantz to indicate that you are using an 11.1 channel layout, and that the Surround Back channels are the ones being pre-amped. Go into the Channel Level settings of the Marantz to validate that you are getting sound out of the Surround Back speakers - if so, this will let you know that everything is connected properly, even if the volume of the externally amped Surround Back speakers doesn't quite match the other channels
7. Re-run Audyssey on the Marantz so that it can properly set the trim level for the speakers being amped through the Denon, and to apply any necessary room correction to those speakers - this will ensure that everything is properly level matched
8. Test out some 11.1 demo material (either native 11.1 tracks or by using one of the up-mixers in the Marantz) - if everything worked, it should sound amazing!
9. If all is good after this, and you like how it is working, you can optionally lock the settings on the Denon so that your settings don't get inadvertently changed in the future
As I read this back, it sounds complicated - hopefully it makes sense to you. Good luck with your setup!